Growing importance of the rail-road transport
Quick development of the European transport contributes to the economical growth, but it also causes noise, air pollution and many accidents. Taking the above into consideration, European Commission recommends logistics modernisation and endeavours to increase the efficiency of the particular means of transport and combined transport. In order to improve the combined rail-road transport, all the elements of its infrastructure should be ameliorated. Only by modernising both, rail and road transport, combined transport will be able to develop. European Commission supports its growth by donating various endeavours in this alternative to the road transport, the combined transport which is much more environmental friendly. European Union is bounding to improve environmental conditions, increase safety and rely on the more energy saving forms of transport.
Advantages and disadvantages of the combined transport
Advantages are for example higher rapidity in delivering goods for long haul destinations, the ability to travel long distance continuously which is paricular significant considering transporting larger shipment of goods. The costs are also reduced as well as the risk of damaging the freighted products, whereas the main advantage of the road service consists in its flexibility in the products delivery at all hours.
On the other hand we can list some disadvantages of the combined transport. Main one would be the necessity of using specialistic equipment, such as lifts, cranes and other transshipment facilities that every rail terminal should be equipped with. It can be said that the combined transport is the kind of compromise between the advantages and disadvantages of road and railway services.
Various restrictions of the road transportation have the influence on the developing of the intermodal rail/road transport. The combination of these two means of transport solve many problems, such as speed and load limitations, working time or the environmental protection. At the forefront of countries where this type of transport is most advanced is Switzerland, Austria and Italy. In these countries the state imposes various implementations that are levied per every kilometer of the route and therefore transit carriers were forced to use special equipped trains.
European Union assistance
In Europe there are still existing some difficulties in the free movement of goods. There are still some operating areas in the logistics that should be changed or improved. Rail transport in comparison to road transport has a lot of advantages. Considering energy consumption it is much more economical to use trains, because the rolling resistance in the railway is about nine times smaller. On the other hand the road transportation is not dependent from the system of rails and can be performed door-to-door. Therefore the most optimal solution would be to connect both means of transport. Idea is that most of the distance goods would travel by the railway. European Union wants to eliminate long-distance road transport and offers different supplementary payments and incitements, so that it would me more cost-effective than to lead the transport through roads. Such costs, as the roads maintenance, safety the accidents with the participation of heavy lorries, such as indemnities and pensions. Systems in which combined system is realised are for example system Ro-La in which lorries are rolled onto the low-loading carriage.
The other one is Pigg Back where the semi trailers are loaded by the cranes onto the carriages; and the last one constitutes bimodal system where the specially constructed road semi trailer resides on the rail trolleys that becomes a railway vehicle.
Combined bimodal rail-road transport has the most advantages of all types of transport, but it demands the creation of the construction complexity such as standardization of railway trucks, semitrailers or freight containers. Great advantage of of this type of combined transport is that it can be introduced gradually. It also shortens the time of deliveries and rise its punctuality. It also helps to prevent the roads from its mechanical deterioration.
The railway transport is not able to win the competition with the road service individually and without any external help. Experts ephasise that railways will not become the modern branch of transport without creating the conditions for the liberalization. The second condition is that the train service and therefore the combined transport should receive the necessary help in the form of different encouragements and donations from the governments.